Are there any expositions of christian philosophical resolutions to the problem of evil that one can more easily follow, in any presentation (video / audio / book /coursera / whatever)? Being a progressive at heart, I tend to get turned off when a philosophical system seems to require unnecessary (and counter-productive) suffering, but still I would genuinely like to understand christian theodicy positions. As much as I like to ridicule the position that "evil exists because the evildoer along with the righteous must have free will", there is actually something beyond that.

  • Easy to dismiss as a troll (perhaps) but if you have any favourite presentation (text / audio / video) please let me know. Dec 7 '13 at 9:44
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    So to be clear, you're asking for something that doesn't say that the possibility evil is a necessary component of freewill, correct? And second clarification, are you asking for something personally convincing to you, or are you just asking for arguments other than the commonly accepted one which you find personally unsatisfying? Dec 7 '13 at 14:09
  • There are several takes on it here. Dec 7 '13 at 14:12
  • I'm asking for a lecture-style, long(ish) material that doesn't skip over objections if it exists. While I personally despise the "evil exists because freedom!" argument, I wouldn't dismiss any material because it taught that. Dec 7 '13 at 14:12
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    Fair enough! Thanks for the clarification. Dec 7 '13 at 14:15

The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley Hart, from an Orthodox perspective.

The Justification Of God by John Piper, from a Reformed perspective. This book is more focused on the question of how can God be called good if he has sovereignly ordained that some people be damned, but the existence of God is clearly an implication of that question. As it's written by a Reformed theologian you can't be quite sure that the answer isn't "because freedom!"

  • Thanks. From the 2nd link, "discusses the texts presentation of God's sovereignty from a Calvinist standpoint". Isn't Calvinism the "generous" idea that only the elected can be saved, only the elected get rich, only the elected deserve compassion etc? Dec 7 '13 at 18:59
  • Calvinism strongly emphasises God's absolute sovereign will, and says that our wills are not free (but are still wills.) The promise of salvation is made to everyone but not everyone takes it up, and no one deserves compassion. I don't know what you mean about getting rich.
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 7 '13 at 23:13
  • Accumulation of material wealth is a sign that an individual has been chosen by God (and God's elections are not based on merits, only on "whim"). Isn't this an important side to the protestant work ethic? Dec 8 '13 at 3:35
  • Prosperity teaching and Calvinism usually don't go together. I'm not too sure why that is. Maybe it's just how it's gone historically, that even though there may not be strong link from their doctrine of predestination to their doctrine of eschatalogical blessings, most Calvinists have seen material blessings to come primarily after the final judgement.
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 8 '13 at 4:21

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